FOR A WHILE TORONTONIANS HEADED FOR THE SUBURBS & EXURBS – PLANNING TO ESCAPE THE CITY

“The pendulum might now have swung too far”, wrote the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) economists Benjamin Tan and Royce Mendes. That was applied to Toronto when 50,400 people left the city for other parts of Ontario – Cottage Country, small towns and rural areas. As in America, some families are having second thoughts about heading back, or staying put in countryside towns. New York City is again embracing those who fled to the hinterland or the middle of nowhere when the pandemic hit really hard. Jason Kirby in the Globe and Mail’s ‘Report on Business’ writes . . .  . . . . . “In its most recent analysis of housing market imbalances and household debt, the Bank of Canada looked at markets in scores of postal codes in and around Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa. It found that the farther you went from those city centres, the hotter the market.” “A lot may depend on how accommodating employers decide to be when it comes to continuing remote work arrangements. CIBC economists found that many employers expect their workers to return to the office full time when this is over.”  The city is waiting, and daily commutes may be approaching.

From NOW Magazine – BUILDINGS THAT WILL CHANGE TORONTO’S FUTURE CITYSCAPE

By JULIA MASTROIANNNI – “Some of the most interesting buildings and developments are slated to go up in the next few years and will transform how we experience the cityscape – for better or for worse. From developments billed as sustainable to future skyline icons and hyped neighbourhood game-changers, we looked at projects that will alter the city in environmental and aesthetic ways, impact the city’s heritage buildings and attempt to address the affordable housing crisis.” 1 – The One, 1 Bloor West – Foster + Partners, Core Architects. This condominium tower will become a skyline icon – and the tallest building in Canada. and the second-tallest man-made structure in the country after the CN Tower. 2 – St. Lawrence Market North, 92 Front Street East, City of Toronto, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Adamson Associates Architects. Much-anticipated St. Lawrence Market North building has been over 10 years in the making. The development will combine courtrooms, offices and a large market in the open hall that will continue to operate as a covered, outdoor marketplace that can be adjusted to the seasons. 3 – The Arbour – 185 Queens Quay East, One of Toronto’s first large span mass wood structures will also make a mark on the skyline. Who is involved: George Brown College, Moriyama & Teshima, Acton Ostry Architects. 4 – One Delisle – 1 Delisle (St. Clair), Studio Gang Architects, WZMH Architects, Creating a new green-focused model for future residential buildings. Studio Gang is designing the unique structure of this 47-storey condo building, which is billed as a sustainability first for the city. One Delisle meets Tier 1 of the Toronto Green Standard, a set of sustainability requirements for new private and city-owned developments proposed after 2018. 5 – Mirvish Village – 581 Bloor West.  Those involved – City of Toronto, federal government, Mirvish Village BIA, neighbouring resident associations, Henriquez Partners Architects and Diamond Schmitt Architects. Many residents were sad to see discount store Honest Ed’s go in 2017, and years of work and community consultation went into the planning of the current development, which will include heritage elements, retail, residential, green space and affordable housing. 6 – The ORCA Project – 433 Front Street West, Who is involved: Moshe Safdie, PWP Landscape Architecture, Sweeney & Co Architects,  City of Toronto. The most complex construction would create a skybridge fortress. Mayor John Tory has been aiming for this since 2016 in favour of the ORCA Project (which stands for Over Rail Corridor Area). A Rail Deck Park would have transformed the 21-acre space above a central rail corridor into a massive park, covering Bathurst to Blue Jays Way West along Front. Now, the proposed $5 billion ORCA Project, a private developer’s plan to turn the space above the rail corridor into a sky community, will become the most complex construction in the history of Canada – that is, if it actually gets built. For an additional five buildings go to the NOW magazine website. The address is https://nowtoronto.com/

COUNCILLOR KRISTYN WONG-TAM TRIES HARD TO SAVE DOWNTOWN INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

These century-old heritage buildings at 153-185 Eastern Avenue in the West Don Lands are important parts of Canada’s industrial railway history.  Councillor Wong-Tram is trying to save them.The structures owned by the Province of Ontario, were recently being demolished without any community consultation nor a formal notice to the City of Toronto. Councillor Wong-Tam successfully stopped demolition until a formal hearing could be put into place. City Council adopted her motion for the City Solicitor to seek court enforcement of the Ontario Heritage Act, along with an additional Plan of Subdivision with the City. Negotiations are underway and updates will be posted at this address – kristynwongtam.ca/respectlocalplanning

HELPING KEEP TORONTO’S ARTS, DANCE, MUSEUMS, THEATRE, ETC. ALIVE DURING COVID-19

J. Kelly Nestruck and Kate Taylor on Saturday, May 15th, examined some of Canada’s biggest art endowments and why they haven’t been making full use of them. There are funding restrictions, investment policies and the up-and-down health of the stock market – key roles in decision-making as what and where to Draw from the Endowments. A few of the Endowments below – Toronto Symphony Orchestra – $41.1-million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The Art Gallery of Ontario, $84.4-million endowments along with another $23.5-million in assets. The Stratford Festival – a $93.9-million market value as of February 28, 2021, along with about half in restricted funds for areas such as training, new play development and maintaining gardens. A much more complete story is in The Globe and Mail edition, Saturday, May 15, 2021.

THE GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT OF ‘OLD TORONTO’ IS PARTLY CREDITED TO STREETCARS

Hong Kong boasts double-decker trams. Double-decker buses signify London: the “L” rapid transit system trundles around Chicago. And bicycles are everywhere in Rotterdam.Toronto maintains and venerates its massive streetcar network. They’re longtime symbols, beginning as far back as the 1860’s several miles from the St. Lawrence Market to Yorkville Town Hall.  Rosie Shephard, a Monarch Park Collegiate student wrote about the streetcar saying “They have been a defining feature of many Toronto neighbourhoods, and developed them into ‘streetcar suburbs’. (They’re) also very profitable, triggering the growth and development of local businesses and restaurants.” The Cabbagetown neighbourhood is a well-rounded example that grew from a suburb to a successful neighbourhood thanks to the streetcar. Other neighbourhoods – Riverdale and The Beaches. <ABOVE – A Toronto Transit Commission streetcar, celebrating TTC’s 80th birthday; photo by Ted Wickson . . . . and #327 is part of the Halton Collection>

LITTLE CANADA, ‘OUR HOME AND MINIATURE LAND’ OPENS ON JULY 1ST, CANADA DAY

Toronto’s latest attraction will be receiving visitors at #10 Dundas Street East on July 1st, providing all is going well with the pandemic. Under one roof you’ll be able to explore our nation in miniature – the sights, sounds and sometimes smells of The Great White North. A Little Canada passport will get things underway.<ABOVE – exploring TORONTO in winter> <ABOVE – a tulip garden, possibly in OTTAWA> <Much work has already been done on the project by those who are building the miniatures.> LAUNCHING IN 2021 – Little Niagara, the Golden Horseshoe, Toronto, Ottawa, Little North (now under construction), and Quebec. IN THE FUTURE – Montreal, the Prairies & the Rockies, the East Coast, History of Canada, and the West Coast. To find out much more check out the website – https://www.little-canada.ca/ 

BRYAN & ALAN HIKED A LITTLE-KNOWN BEACH, EAST OF THE R.C. HARRIS WATER PLANT

Scampering down a hill on a sunny afternoon, through a gate and the Beach was their’s.BRYAN had this to say: “It took about 40 minutes of hiking to go one way. So beautiful and peaceful, like we were walking alongside an ocean.”  Said ALAN –  “Best of all . . . there were no other people.” <PHOTOS by Bryan Blenkin, May/2021>

OVERACTIVE MEDIA, PARTLY OWNED BY ‘THE WEEKND’. THINKS LIVE ENTERTAINMENT CAN RETURN TO THE CORE

You won’t see this $500-million sports, media and entertainment venue at Toronto’s Exhibition Place until its’ opening in 2025. Location – four acres on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard, across from the lands of Ontario Place. Besides providing a future meeting place for sports, media and entertainment, the project is expected to host over 200 events a year, primarily music and entertainment, but also conventions, corporate occasions, tournaments, product launches, award shows – and lots more. The big numbers – $500-million stadium; 7,000 seat hall; 400-room hotelPresident of Overactive Media – CHRIS OVERHOLT, who launched The Air Canada Centre, one of Toronto’s biggest venues.

TORONTO ISN’T A CITY DULL & GRAY – IT’S A CITY OF COLOUR, & BRIGHTENS UP OUR DAY

These images have been collected over 10 years of ‘torontosavvy’. Some are recognizable, and others are just imaginative. Altogether this photo group shows off Toronto, a city in colour. <F.Y.I. – this is a Cabbagetown sparrow begging for a muffin . . . photo by George Pyron>